Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making the Most of the Adirondack Park

We consider the Adirondack Park one of our greatest assets. Woodcraft campers are given the opportunity to set out from camp two or three times a session and discover the wonders of the woods. As mentioned in yesterday's post about outdoor living skills (OLS), the staff plan trips suitable for their divisions age group. The oldest divisions -- Trail Camp for boys and Auroras for girls -- often venture to the near-by High Peaks Region. 

In addition to being a beautiful place to hike with spectacular views, the High Peaks Region offers 46 peaks that exceed 4,000 feet in elevation (there is actually a few old elevation surveying discrepancies, but the traditional number is 46). For many Adirondack hikers, becoming a "46-er" becomes a life goal. Many campers climb their first High Peak while on a Woodcraft trip. Standing on top of an Adirondack Peak with a full panoramic view is a great way to turn someone into a life-long hiking enthusiast.

As Trail Campers and Auroras become more proficient in OLS, they begin to join the counselors in the trip planning process. They learn how to read the map to identify the difference between state maintained trails and minimum maintenance foot paths, how to use the map along with a compass, and what the various markings on the map all mean. With experience, the campers also learn to plot routes up trail-less High Peaks by understanding elevation contour lines and the importance of the locations of streams to backcountry navigation.

Campers always return from High Peaks trips excited and enthusiastic about their accomplishment, the wilderness, and the camaraderie they develop. The pictures and stories from High Peaks adventures are always some of the high lights of the summer.
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